Saturday 29 March 2008

Opening Night in the Sticks

Bodenham Village Hall

From Festival Director, David Gillam:
There was a wonderful atmosphere at Little Dewchurch Village Hall for the opening Night of Borderlines Film Festival on Friday. 71 people packed in to see The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, a convivial crowd and charming film meant a great time was had by all. Little Dewchurch promoter Richard King was delighted, "It's great to see so many here enjoying the film, to see some new faces in the audience - and the free beer (sponsored by The Rural Media Company) was greatly appreciated. So thanks to them and to Wye Valley Brewery for that." Dave Berry, author of Wales & Cinema, who introduced the film was amazed to see so many people in the audience. And though he's introduced the film many times over the years he said, "The atmosphere tonight was something really special, unique really, I've never seen such a social scene around the screening of the film. Quite amazing really, when I arrived and saw the size of the village I certainly didn't expect anything like this!"

The omnipresent Dorothy Goodbody

A good night across the board. High turnouts for many venues with people, including quite a few Golden Ticket holders, arriving from much further afield than normal.

Audiences in Bodenham, Burghill and Bosbury

Moccas proved delightful; impressive trees surround the village hall and even the car park was festively lit. Made most welcome by Dave Collins, the promoter, and his team and there must have been around 70 of us at the screening - from Hereford, Madley, Clifford as well as Moccas itself. A surprise reunion for Dave; an old work colleague who'd moved to Brilley 4 years ago showed up unexpectedly. And I met local farmer, Owen Whittall, whom we've managed to persuade to join the debate which follows The Lie of the Land at the New Rural Perspectives event on Saturday 12 April. As well as a leading light in the farming community, Owen turns out to have been the driving force behind the renovation of the village hall. For some reason I'd imagined he'd be shy and retiring!

And, unusually, I enjoyed And When Did You Last See Your Father? more on second viewing. The first time I was picky about the film; this evening I was totally swept away by Jim Broadbent's marvellous performance. The opening scene - with its mixture of sheer exhilaration and acute embarrassment as Morrison's father jumps a traffic queue heading for the Races, waving a stethoscope and bellowing "Let us through, we're doctors!" - takes some beating. After the show we lingered till the bar was cleared, comparing notes about the reserve of our own fathers' generation and wiping away the odd tear.

And from Garway:
The weather turned out a bit wild for the Opening night at Garway for The Band's Visit - an Israeli film, promised on DVD, but held over by Sony until its opening in the USA. Undaunted, Flicks in the Sticks arranged for an ancient 35mm 'portable' projector from Staffordshire, delivered and set up lovingly by Simon, who then waxes lyrical about its pedigree. People arrive windblown and well wrapped up, with cushions under their arms, and only too happy to partake of a glass of free Dorothy Goodbody's Wye Valley Ale, courtesy of the The Rural Media Company. The film is a delight - only a little marred by the fact that the front half of the 50-strong audience cannot see the subtitles for the first reel. During the interval, when excellent home made cakes and coffee are consumed, Simon supervises the adjustment of the screen, supported by several tall men from the audience, and the projector is wedged up with two romantic novels from the village hall cupboard. All is well. The second reel can be enjoyed equally by everyone and gets a round of applause for this wry, touching human story.

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